Thursday, May 31, 2018

Water Under The Bridge ~

It is life, I think, to watch the water. A man can learn so many things. - Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook.

I have always been intrigued by the depth of the ocean and found that water teaches us the realities of life. The rush and rage of the waves is similar to the emotions and struggles which we face when we choose to step out into this world.

Water Under The Bridge

 If you're gonna let me down, let me down gently
Don't pretend that you don't want me
Our love ain't water under the bridge
If you're gonna let me down, let me down gently
Don't pretend that you don't want me
Our love ain't water under the bridge
Say that our love ain't water under the bridge (full song here)

All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was. - Toni Morrison

I pray to be like the ocean, with soft currents, maybe waves at times. More and more, I want the consistency rather than the highs and the lows. - Drew Barrymore

We're imprisoned in the realm of life, like a sailor on his tiny boat, on an infinite ocean. - Anna Freud
(all images above have been borrowed from Unsplash)

So, our challenge today is to write about water. You can draw inspiration from the music video by Adele and the quotes which I have shared above. I look forward to reading what you guys come up with. Please do visit others and remember to comment on their poems. Have fun!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Tuesday Platform

Hello poets and poetry lovers! As of yesterday, my college sweetheart and I have been married 23 years. We bonded over a love of coffee (yes, before I started studying traditional Japanese tea ceremony I was an avid coffee drinker - my dark roasted secret is out). We met at our college's medieval reenactment society, appropriately called That Medieval Thing and further bonded over our enjoyment of classic golden age Hollywood movies. He introduced me to The Quiet Man with John Wayne, and 1935's Zorro.

We are both also huge fans of Golden Age cartoon shorts, especially Looney Tunes. I was the one who talked his ear off about different animators, and the Man of 1000 Voices, Mel Blanc.

Do you have an interest you bonded over with a beloved? Is there an interest any potential lovers must have if they're going to last longer than an evening? Feel free to write about that, or whatever else hits your fancy (new or old is fine). Don't forget to see what your fellow poets have created this week. If you like something, don't keep it to yourself. Conversation and constructive feedback in the comments section is always welcome.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Weekend Mini Challenge: Insects and Bugs

Welcome to the Weekend Mini Challenge with Kim from Writing in North Norfolk.

As some of you may know, since retiring from high school teaching four years ago, I have been volunteering with libraries and infant schools, which means I spend a lot of time with young children. One of the things I love about little kids is their curiosity. The two schools where I listen to five-, six- and seven-year-olds read are both advocates of the ‘forest school’ and have areas where youngsters can engage with nature, especially mini beasts.

Yesterday I suggested a book for a little girl who loves nature. Caterpillar Butterfly (by Vivian French and beautifully illustrated by Charlotte Voake) is an autobiographical book about the summer when Vivian French and her grandfather watched a family of tiny caterpillar eggs turn, stage by stage, into butterflies. We had a wonderful time reading this book and I was amazed at her prior knowledge and understanding.

I recalled a few poems I have read that are about or include insects, and wondered how many more I could find. Apparently there are lots of them, but most of the ones I found were pre-twentieth century. Here are a few of my favorites:
Related image
John Donne’s ‘The Flea’ uses an interesting and unusual conceit to seduce a woman!  The Flea

Related imageWilliam Oldys’s ‘On a Fly drinking out of his Cup' is based on an ancient Greek poem by Anacreon.  Click HERE to view.

Another poem about a fly is Emily Dickinson’s ‘I heard a Fly buzz – when I died’. It’s one of her best-known poems.
Click HERE to view.

Image result for peacock butterfly Pinterest‘The Ants’ by William Empson and ‘Butterfly Dancing’ by Alison Cassidy are two of the modern poems I found.
The Ants
Butterfly Dancing

This week’s mini challenge is to write a NEW poem in a form of your choice about INSECTS and BUGS. It doesn’t matter whether you love them or hate them, revile them or praise them. However, because they are mini beasts, keep it short (no longer than 30 lines).

Join our ugly bug ball by clicking on Mister Linky and filling in your name and url. And please remember to read and comment on other toads’ poems – toads love bugs!

All images found on Pinterest.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wordy Thursday with Wild Woman : MUST LOVE DOGS


Write a poem of tribute to or about  a dog you have loved – and/or still love. Tell us about him or her, and the gifts he or she brought into your life. Is there a story that will tell us who your dog was or is?

"Seize the day!"
Pup-cakes for their birthdays!

If you are a cat person, introduce us to your cat.

And if you have never known or loved a dog or cat up close and personal, write a poem about your favourite animal, whether domesticated or wild. 

Let's look at the world through the kind, intelligent, loving eyes of animals today. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Tuesday Platform

“In the sky there are always answers and explanations for everything: every pain, every suffering, joy and confusion.” ― Ishmael Beah

There is something about the sky that stirs my heart, my soul and my muse from time to time. Greetings poets, wayfarers and friends. It's Ramadan in my part of the world and writing especially these days offers me a chance to truly unwind. 

If you have any thoughts to share, ideas you wish to release into the wild or a world view to express, then you have come to the right place. Please share a poem of your choice and enjoy the company of your fellow scribes. We look forward to reading you and hope you have a wonderful day ahead.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

If You Meet The Hero on the Road ...

Heroes are a mythic commonplace, so much so Joseph Campbell lumped them in a monomyth. A hero is a mortal with semi-divine divine powers whose business is bringing home the bacon while still on the bull. Half sun, all clout, the hero’s journey is go way out there, cross a threshold, do battle with a Morholt or Medusa, thus to (b)reach an inner sanctum where the treasure hardest to attain awaits, dewy-eyed with bling, blarney & booty.  Mission accomplished, the hero's final task is to bring home the goods for the tribe.

Why are heroes popular, well, usually that’s us in there, wearing the mask of Hero, besting and wresting, clubbing and lugging our way to Victory. Not bad, eh? Psychology has long identified the hero fantasy with ego development, a nascent consciousness growing from Prince to Knight to King on a road of trials.

But if it sounds a tad testosteroney, it is. Dudes have been flashing that sword a long time. We have a hard time getting around the stereotypical imagery; we slight female heroes; all that swashbuckling smoke gets in the eyes. (And when we try, too often she looks like something out of the Marvel superheroine list—pouty lips, lightning-fast moves and a slight turn away so the rump’s on display. (Heroic glutes.)

I’m not sure we’re really all that much evolved with our hero-worship, and perhaps we shouldn’t be. Heroes are models for the tribe, showing aspiration and courage are real necessities in a world changing all too fast. History takes meaning remembering heroic deeds.

If there has been growth at all in our imaginariums, we have to look into the periphery for heroes who don’t look or swing like ’em—anti-heroes like Byron or Mad Max, women warriors from the Morrigan, Calamity Jane to Athena; culture heroes including Orpheus and Celtic Lud and JK Rowling (shall I dream a world?). And then there are heroes whose heroics are hidden from normal view – wily Odysseus, Frodo Baggins, The Dude. And for spiritual heroics, well, there’s the shaman, the Sin-Eater and, I propose, Melania.

Some suggest that hero psychology belongs on the dustbin of history. As if we need more empowered super egos on this Earth! We have too many heroes now on steroids, unable to squeeze through any threshold, armed with weaponry so powerful that advantage becomes annihilation  I for one could do with fewer bug-eyed berserkers on my commute.

But must we throw the heroics out with the badass water? Perhaps we can create altar-space to revere ex-cons in prison ministry and those who help the deaf to hear, the teacher of wonder, the recovering addict and the judges who don’t give up on them.  Feed the poor, renounce one’s privilege, let the plants do the talking—those are all heroic qualities we should embrace.

If there is one thing we are lacking this day, it’s the sense of history. When change is halcyon and warp-speed, who has time for memory? That’s so yesterday. Our rabid 24-hour news cycle chomps events like Cheetos, leaving nothing but orange crumbs and gas behind. Clio, the first muse and daughter of Mnemosyne (Memory), was the singer of history, a recounter of heroic deeds. Without taking time to remember heroics, we lose any sense of proportion and value. We’re like Hercules without his club in Hades, dancing in the dark. Remembering history gives epic meaning to time.

Bonus idea: Back of history lies the primordial forces of life and death, love and yearning. Back in those archetypal emotions are gods: Mars and Eros, Aphrodite and Artemis, Hermes and Athena, Zeus and Apollo and Dionysos, oh my (picking from the Greek pantheon here, but every culture has a dense divine vocabulary). Looking for a different way to explore your hero? Pair h/her with a different god. If Hercules is too empowered by Zeus, try pairing him with his mother Hera (heroes often haver mother-complexes). Psyche too knowing? Enflame her with Eros. Then turn things around and wound Eros with Psyche’s curiosity about the nature of love. Now the real education begins … Could be fun; point is, sometimes a new pairing writes a different history.

For this weekend challenge, pick a hero/ine and write about him/her/it. Tell a story, muse what is best and most memorable. Please don’t feel you have to make this about myth; sometimes those masks hang back of the tale and require no naming. The story is the myth; history is mystery. Tend an altar, sing a hero—and come share it here.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Fireblossom Friday : Edward Emerson Simmons

"Girl Reading" by Edward Emerson Simmons
Hello dear Toads and pond followers. Fireblossom here with a very special (to me) Fireblossom Friday, which requires just a smidgen of backstory. Not too awfully long ago, I had my DNA tested by one of those popular sites. My results weren't very surprising but one unexpected and pleasant result is that I made a connection with a cousin I hadn't known before. We dove into researching the family tree a little bit, and so I pulled out some materials I had. Way back in 1990, I thought I ought to ask my dad if he would tell me some stuff about the family history, because I knew he had researched it, and because he was already 78 at the time (I was a late-life baby) and I thought it's now or never, maybe.

"The Lightbearer" design by Edward Emerson Simmons, executed by Louis Comfort Tiffany
In January of 1991, I received 15 typewritten pages--not surprising at all from my newspaperman father. He loved a research project. Naturally, I read it several times upon receiving it. I found out all kinds of things, from my philandering great-grandfather who made three fortunes and blew them all on fast women (except the third--he died aboard ship while in the process of blowing that!), to his wife the long-suffering schoolteacher who died at age 89 when she caught herself on fire from the stove, ran out into the street and died, to my step-grandfather, a card-carrying socialist who lost his job at Ford Motor Company during the depths of the Depression for standing up to Harry Bennett, Henry Ford's henchman and right hand man. 

"Gathering Wood" by Edward Emerson Simmons
My father also mentioned a painter on his side of the family, but I had never heard of the man, and this was more than a decade before I would be connected to the internet, so researching him was something I never pursued--until, spurred by my cousin, I researched him quite recently. Lo and behold, he was a painter of some note! His work graces the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York, the Library of Congress, and several state capitols. His name is Edward Emerson Simmons. My father says he had a copy of Simmons's autobiography "From Seven To Seventy: Memoirs Of A Painter And A Yankee" but goodness knows where it is by now. Not in my hands, anyway.

"Melpomene" by Edward Emerson Simmons, Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington DC
My father was 19 when the painter died, but before that happened, Edward Simmons gave my father this bit of family wisdom: "We Simmonses are peculiar galoots but each one can usually do one thing good enough to get by." ("well" enough, Edward!) For Edward, it was obviously painting. For my father it was newspaper work. For me, hosting Fireblossom Friday perhaps? In any case, I probably have the "peculiar galoot" part down. ;-)

"High Sea" by Edward Emerson Simmons
To goose you to greater poetic heights, I offer the work of my relative, Edward Emerson Simmons, for inspiration. You may use any of these provided (public domain) or any you can find HERE. Then just link up and go visiting. Do please be sure to credit Edward for his work. :-)


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Tuesday Platform ~ Running on ...

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 -Running on ... 

public domain image

Welcome to the Tuesday Platform! 

Here's your chance to showcase a poem - of your choice. Something old? Something new? Definitely not borrowed. Perhaps Blue? Maybe yellow for the sun?

So Toads and Travelers - link up a poem - then share, by reciprocating - visiting what other friends and fellows are posting. Offer your thoughts to them. Enjoy your process, the musings and ideas.

And perhaps you're looking for some ideas?
Use the image of all those shoes - Converse  - to spark your imagination's universe - then go forth and converse with the others. And since my mind works in mysterious ways - the chorus from Jackson Browne's song: Running On Empty. (it's easy enough to find the lyrics if the song is unknown to you, as well as the video - classic rock) ... let your mind wander if you're a bit weary for ideas.

Running on, running on empty
Running on, running blind
Running on, running into the sun
But I'm running behind
Songwriters: Jackson Browne
Running On Empty lyrics © Red Brick Music Publishing

Enjoy the running and the ride, friends 
willow_switches ~ PatūüćÉ

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Fussy Little Forms: Palindrome

Toads! Let’s have some fun today. Let’s write palindrome poems! LOL.

We all know that a palindrome is a word or phrase that is the same when read forward or backward. Like WOW or CIVIC or LOL or HANNAH. (Hi, Hannah!) Heaven (Grace) introduced the palindrome in the Garden a few years back, HERE. It’s the same idea, except that a palindrome poem can read forward and backward word by word or line by line. Here’s a quick example that I wrote for Grace’s challenge, called “Minor Key Riots”:
night, this feeling
like ripe dahlias--
escaping the laden
shrill étude
that is
Is that
étude shrill,
laden, the escaping,
Dahlias, ripe like
feeling this night--
Since then, I’ve discovered the brilliant palindrome skills of smarty-pants comedian Demetri Martin, offered to you today for inspiration:
“Dammit, I’m Mad” by Demetri Martin 
Dammit I'm mad.
Evil is a deed as I live.
God, am I reviled? I rise, my bed on a sun, I melt.
To be not one man emanating is sad. I piss.
Alas, it is so late. Who stops to help?
Man, it is hot. I'm in it. I tell.
I am not a devil. I level "Mad Dog".
Ah, say burning is, as a deified gulp,
In my halo of a mired rum tin.
I erase many men. Oh, to be man, a sin.
Is evil in a clam? In a trap?
No. It is open. On it I was stuck.
Rats peed on hope. Elsewhere dips a web.
Be still if I fill its ebb.
Ew, a spider… eh?
We sleep. Oh no!
Deep, stark cuts saw it in one position.
Part animal, can I live? Sin is a name.
Both, one… my names are in it.
Murder? I'm a fool.
A hymn I plug, deified as a sign in ruby ash,
A Goddam level I lived at.
On mail let it in. I'm it.
Oh, sit in ample hot spots. Oh wet!
A loss it is alas (sip). I'd assign it a name.
Name not one bottle minus an ode by me:
"Sir, I deliver. I'm a dog"
Evil is a deed as I live.
Dammit I'm mad.
Wikipedia says Martin wrote this poem about alcoholism for a fractal geometry class when he was an undergraduate at Yale. Showoff! :)  And Martin wrote a 500-word palindrome poem published in his first book, This Is a Book. The poem is HERE.

Amazing!! Okay, Toads--have at it, palindromes! Like a snake head eating the head on the opposite side (according to They Might Be Giants). 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Job Title

I work at an adorably quirky company. A little bit ago, the employees were asked to create their own job titles. We could be as whimsical as we wanted, as long as there was still some idea of our actual tasks implied in the title. After several weeks we had a troop of ninjas, a squad of defenders, and cubicles filled with gurus. I wanted to go with Dark Mistress of the Flow Charts, but eventually I joined some of the ninjas in the marketing department.

So today at the Toads I'm asking you to come up with dream job titles. Be creative and whimsical too, but also tell us a little about the job. What that does the title allows you to take ownership of? How is it fulfilling? Is it a step towards other, bigger things? As always, your piece should be a new poem created for this prompt. Any format is fine. Be sure to hop around the pond and see what the other Toads have come up with and start some conversations.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to the Tuesday Platform, your unprompted free-range day for sharing poems in the Imaginary Garden. Please look up from your smartphone and link up a poem. Then be sure to visit the offerings of our fellow writers.


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Camera FLASH!

It is time to strike a pose again. Here is your photographic challenge for May.

The Cup - Adolf de Meyer (1912)
Fair Use Principles

This challenge comes with a wide angle and any filter of your choosing.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Bits of Inspiration ~ Frida Kahlo

Today I want to inspire you with the life and art of Frida Kahlo. Frida was born on July 6, 1907 in Coyoac√°n, a village on the outskirts of Mexico City. She was a painter who often painted self portraits. At age six she contracted polio and at age eighteen she was severely injured in an automobile accident. It was because of her accident that her plans to attend medical school were ended and the childhood hobby of art led her to pursue becoming an artist. Much of her art was painted from her experiences with pain.

There is so much to learn about this amazing woman. I think I am so drawn to her because she was a woman who suffered incredible pain, and chose to let it be her muse, her inspiration to create art. I made several attempts at doing a Reader's Digest condensed version of her life for this post, but I simply couldn't do it. So after all the head scratching I settled on sharing her image and some of her quotes as inspiration.

Frida Kahlo, by Guillermo Kahlo.jpg

“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” 
― Frida Kahlo

Self portrait with thorn necklace and hummingbird
By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, Link

"The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration." ~ Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo, by Guillermo Kahlo 3

“I am my own muse. I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to better.”
― Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo, by Guillermo Kahlo 2

“They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn't. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.” 
― Frida Kahlo


“Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light. Tragedy is the most ridiculous thing.” 
― Frida Kahlo

For today's challenge choose a quote, a photo, one of Frida's art pieces as inspiration or like Frida, choose yourself to paint with words. As always write a new poem for the challenge, post it on Mr. Linky, and take time to read the work or your fellow poets. (Learn more about Frida  and view her art here.